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The ONLY weekly voice for secondary education Issue 220 • July 9 2009 Price £1.00


New code of conduct
from all of
us at SecEd
is branded ‘a mess’
in disciplinary hearings, which
by Chris Parr
means it was a flawed code from
the outset.
A new code of conduct for staff “The document itself is littered
in England’s state schools has with pious statements, some of
been branded “a mess” by a which are overly vague and very
leading educationalist, while heads difficult to interpret. Also, the code
and teachers have questioned its means that heads and teachers are
necessity. still at risk of having unfair intru-
The summer is upon us and The General Teaching Council sion into their private lives. Various
this is the final edition of
for England (GTCE) published the statements allow the conduct of
SecEd for the academic year.
new guidelines last week, after an teachers outside of work to be taken
We hope you have enjoyed
18-month consultation period. The into account during disciplinary
code contains eight key principles hearings.”
reading the newspaper
of conduct and practice, as well as However, David James, head
this year, and have found
information on how it may be used of professional regulation at the
it a valuable support in in disciplinary cases. GTCE, and co-author of the code,
meeting the many and varied
The code is intended to give said that the document was a fair
challenges of school life.
teachers guidance on what is and is representation of what teachers,
The amazing and innovative
not acceptable behaviour, and offers heads, governors, and parents felt
a range of ideals to which all teach- should be expected from teachers.
work featured in SecEd
ers should aspire while employed He said: “Unfortunately, a lot
this year has once again
by a school. of talk has arisen alleging that the
served to remind us that the However, Chris Keates, general GTCE wants to regulate teachers’ Intrusion? The GTCE has warned teachers about the dangers of putting inappropriate
UK’s education systems are
secretary of the National Association private lives in ways that it hasn’t photographs or images into the public domain, such as on websites like Facebook
among the best in the world.
of Schoolmasters Union of Women before. All this code does is set out
Congratulations on reaching
Teachers, has branded it as not fit reasonable expected standards of ple, if a teacher commits a serious duction and publicity, saying this body, and all professional bodies
for purpose. behaviour, and certainly does not criminal offence, then this impacts was “an unacceptable use of teach- take the view that there is merit in
the end of another year, and
She told SecEd: “Quite simply, prevent a teacher from having a on their ability to teach children.” ers’ money”. setting out the standards expected.
make sure you enjoy a long
it is a mess. All of our mem- private life. However, Mr James did warn of Mr James responded: “We need What we are doing is in line with
and hard-earned rest. Have a bers on the GTCE council voted “Section eight of the code looks the dangers of putting information to make sure the code is distributed what other professions – doctors,
great summer! SecEd returns against it. We don’t believe it at upholding public trust, and ensur- such as photographs into the pub- widely and used effectively. It is lawyers and accountants – already
on Thursday, September 3.
was made clear to the groups of ing a teacher’s behaviour doesn’t lic domain through websites like a key document, and we make no have in place.”
heads involved in the consulta- negatively impact on the learning Facebook. apologies for investing in it.” But Ms Keates remained uncon-
Sign up to
tions that this code could be used environment of a child. For exam- He continued: “The issue is the Meanwhile, teachers have vinced, saying the document was
degree to which images are avail- acknowledged that the principles not an effective code of conduct.
The code’s eight principles of conduct and practice able to the public. Facebook is in contained in the code are desirable, “This document is not a code of
SecEd digital
1. Put the wellbeing, development and progress of children and
the public domain and pictures out but have questioned whether or not conduct, it is a blueprint for saint-
on the site could conceivably be it is necessary to produce a written hood – but I doubt whether a saint
young people first
With the launch of
seen by parents or pupils, so there document. could hope to comply with all its
2. Take responsibility for maintaining the quality of your teaching
is a risk there. Jo Smith, deputy head at Long recommendations,” she said.
SecEddigital, thousands of
practice “We have taken disciplinary Field School in Leicestershire, said: “It is littered with vague asser-
teachers are now reading
3. Help children and young people to become confident and
action against a teacher who “I don’t think any right-minded tions and pious views, and yet
the newspaper electronically
successful learners
appeared in a pornographic movie. teacher would object to these expect- someone is going to lose their job
every Thursday. You can sign
Even though it was not broadcast on ed standards. After all they are all in and never be able to teach again
4. Demonstrate respect for diversity and promote equality
up by sending us your email
mainstream television, it was still the best interests of young people. because of this document. That is
5. Strive to establish productive partnerships with parents and carers
address. It is completely free
conceivable that pupils or members However, putting them in black and unacceptable.”
of their family could access this white is unnecessary for most.” For details, visit
and we will not pass on your
6. Work as part of a whole-school team
material.” Mr James said that having a
details to third parties. Just
7. Co-operate with other professionals in the children’s workforce
Ms Keates also criticised the written code brought teaching in • See pages 8 and 9: Our legal
8. Demonstrate honesty and integrity and uphold public trust and
expense of the project, which has line with other professions. experts analyse the implications of
confidence in the teaching profession
been allocated £200,000 for pro- He added: “We are a professional the new code of conduct.
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